Sarawak still awaits clarification on O&G royalty

By BERNAMA / Graphic By TMR

Sarawak is still awaiting further clarification on the federal government’s commitment pertaining to the granting of the 20% oil royalty to petroleum producing states as had been announced previously.

Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Abang Openg said he views the issue of royalty as relating to property ownership and an understanding must exist between the operator and owner of the property concerned.

“What is understood all this time is the granting of 5% royalty on oil and gas (O&G) production within the state, and the state government wants that percentage to be increased to 20%.

“This is because the value of the currency is different now from before and the demand on O&G also differs, but we cannot compromise on the issue concerning ownership,” the chief minister told the media after officiating the Sarawak Land and Survey Department’s Innovation and Integrity Day in Kuching yesterday.

At present, Abang Johari said the state government is taking a “wait and see” attitude because the statement concerning the royalty from the federal government is still unclear, on whether the 20% is taken into account from the total profit or total production.

The chief minister said that was why he made a statement recently asking for further clarification to be given on the matter, and so far he has yet to obtain any feedback.

At the Dewan Rakyat sitting on July 19, Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said the Pakatan Harapan government is committed to realising its pledges, including the granting of 20% royalty to petroleum producing states, but subsequently various issues arose after some states questioned if the percentage was calculated in terms of production or net profit.

The Sarawak chief minister said yesterday he received a visit from Terengganu Mentri Besar Dr Ahmad Samsuri Mokhtar, who wanted to hear Sarawak’s stand on the matter and they had discussed it but it was not “official talks”.

He said Sarawak respected Petroliam Nasional Bhd (Petronas) as a major player in the country’s O&G industry and while the state government also has the right to its land, both parties must cooperate in a “win-win” setting to steer the industry ahead.

He said after the Federal Court dismissed Petronas’ application to institute legal proceedings against the state government on its right to regulate Sarawak’s upstream O&G activities last month, the oil company had come to discuss the matter further with him.

The discussions centred on the next step, but he said further details on the matter could not be disclosed, adding that a “win-win” solution is being pursued. — Bernama